Just Write the Blamed Thing!

I have stories in my head.

Well, yeah. Writers are supposed to have stories in their head. But do you ever think what happens to those stories when writers don’t put them on paper? (Sorry, I’m old school; I should be saying on screen, but you catch my drift.)

The first result is a travesty. And that is that the stories disappear into the netherworld. Some stories deserve to go there, like when you have an ‘amazing’ dream, only to recount the dream later and realize that it was only amazing to you when you were asleep. Some lose their significance in the light of day. Some stories are like that, regardless of whether they come from dreams or not.

The second result is what I am struggling with, and it’s totally different. Stories grow. They mutate. They even fester. They take on a life of their own. That’s all well and good, and you want stories to grow and mature. I tell my students that there is such a thing as writing a book too soon. Sometimes you have to let it develop in your head to the point where you see where it is going before you start writing.

But the story my brain is working on is huge. I mean universe huge. It is so large that when I try to tell the story I see people’s eyes glaze over. It’s kind of like when people used to ask me what I was writing my doctoral dissertation about. As soon as I started talking about it, I knew I had lost them. And so I started getting it down to a very simplistic answer that was nowhere near the truth. And then for fun, I would change the description, depending on who I told, each description totally truthful and totally inaccurate at the same time.

It’s like the Kipling poem about the blind men trying to describe the elephant? One says it is like a wall, another says it is like a snake, another like….sigh. You get my drift. And so I am caught in a situation where I can’t really tell people what my story is about because each description only tells a very small part of the very larger story. All that I know is that I am very excited to be starting on something new, and that it has captured my imagination.

Now all I have to do is write the blamed thing.